After returning from the hearing, I traveled to Cali with Lilia's family. The road to Cali passes over the mountains to the west of Bogota. Lilia's son, mother, and driver spent ten hours speeding along windy mountain roads. I do not do well with curves, but I found that if I slept through them, I didn't feel as motion sick. Before I started napping, though, I got some nice photos of the Colombian mountainscapes:
Cali is the kind of climate you expect this close to the equator. Thanks to its perch in the mountains, Bogota stays a brisk 75*F or so, but Cali, down at the feet of the mountains, is truly tropical: palm trees, humidity, the whole deal.
My week in Cali was largely uneventful. I accompanied the family to the university (a pretty campus: palm trees, gardens, and brick buildings) a couple times, while they went through Lilia's son's admissions process. I went out for dessert some evenings with Lilia's son, and spent a lot of time in the apartment.
One night, the family went out to a mirador, a restaurant with a view. One the way there we stopped to take some photos:
On Thursday, I went to the Central Plaza, where proud-looking colonial architecture looked out over park benches full of people and street musicians playing haunting tunes on wooden instruments. I ducked into an big old church, where I sat reflecting for a moment before moving on the the anthropological museum and the gold museum.
My last night in Cali, I participated in a well-honored Cali tradition: salsa dancing! This was my first real (partnered) salsa experience in Colombia. They have a slightly different style than the Cuba/PR-centric style I learned in DC-- there are fewer spins, and more side-to-side movement. I managed to pick it up as we went along, and had a lot of fun!
On the road back to Bogota, I was alone with the driver (to explain: from what I understood when it was briefly mentioned to me, Lilia's car and drivers are provided by the government for protection; the drivers are armed, I think. It's dangerous working in human rights in Colombia). The driver and I bonded: he stopped for me to buy some fruit for breakfast, and explained how to eat it, since it was a type I've never seen before. We chatted and ate lunch together, until the motion sickness level got to the point where I turned to in-car napping for relief. As on the way to Cali, I did manage to get some nice shots of the mountainside landscapes before that point: